How to Install Gitea on Ubuntu 20.04

As is well known, Git is a vital tool for application development. Therefore, there are repository hosting tools that use it, such as GitLab or GitHub. However, if you learn how to install Gitea on Ubuntu 20.04 you will be able to have your Git server for your private projects and teams. This is the goal of this post.

What is Gitea?

Gitea is a gogs fork, so it is a web server for Git repositories like GitHub or GitLab. With it, we can manage the git users and repositories of our projects.

Applications like Gitea find their place in private enterprise projects where it is not required that the code is in the hands of third parties. In addition to this, it is fascinating in small teams or educational projects.

Some features such as commit signing or two-factor authentication can be decisive aspects in the adoption of Gitea over Gogs, for example. So let’s get started.

Install Gitea on Ubuntu 20.04

Install MariaDB on Ubuntu 20.04

Gitea requires a database manager to be able to control the data that is being created. It is compatible with PostgreSQL, MariaDB and SQLite, although the latter is only for small teams. So, in this post, we will use MariaDB.

First, install some necessary packages

sudo apt install git unzip gnupg2

Then, install MariaDB by running

sudo apt install mariadb-server 

When finished, set the root password and secure the installation.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When you set the root password, then answer Y to all the questions you will be asked.

Next, you have to make some configurations in MariaDB. Edit the configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf

And add the following

innodb_file_format = Barracuda
innodb_large_prefix = 1
innodb_default_row_format = dynamic

Save the changes and close the editor. To apply the changes, restart the MariaDB service

sudo systemctl restart mariadb  

The next step is to create the database and the MariaDB user dedicated to Gitea.

Open the shell,

sudo mysql -u root -p

Create the database. I will call it gitea.

CREATE DATABASE gitea CHARACTER SET 'utf8mb4' COLLATE 'utf8mb4_unicode_ci';

Now create the user by assigning permissions on the newly created database.

Be sure to define a strong password.

GRANT ALL ON gitea.* TO 'user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Refresh the permissions and exit the shell


We are done with MariaDB. Let’s continue.

Preparing the system for Gitea

Before downloading Gitea, we need to introduce some changes to the system. It is not a big deal.

First, we need to create a new user for git.

sudo adduser --system --shell /bin/bash --group --disabled-password --home /home/git git

Then create the directory structure that Gitea will work with.

sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/gitea/{custom,data,log}  

All these created directories have to be owned by the git user we created before.

sudo chown -R git:git /var/lib/gitea/{custom,data,log}  

Then, assign them appropriate permissions.

sudo chmod -R 750 /var/lib/gitea/{custom,data,log}  

Furthermore, we have to create another directory dedicated to Gitea configuration.

sudo mkdir /etc/gitea  

This directory has to be owned by the root user and with appropriate permissions

sudo chown root:git /etc/gitea  
sudo chmod 770 /etc/gitea  

Now we can download the Gitea binary.

Download Gitea on Ubuntu 20.04

Gitea is distributed as a binary that we have to download into the system. So to complete this we have to run

Download Gitea on Ubuntu 20.04
Download Gitea on Ubuntu 20.04

Currently, the latest stable version is 1.15.8 to know which one it is, I recommend you first visit the project website.

Now move the binary to /usr/bin/gitea with the appropriate permissions

sudo mv gitea-1.15.8-linux-amd64 /usr/bin/gitea  
sudo chmod 755 /usr/bin/gitea  

To start, stop, restart and check the status of Gitea, we have to create a new service.

First, create the file

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/gitea.service  

Then, add the following


ExecStart=/usr/bin/gitea web -c /etc/gitea/app.ini
Environment=USER=git HOME=/home/git GITEA_WORK_DIR=/var/lib/gitea

Creating the Gitea Server
Creating the Gitea Server

Save the changes and close the editor.

To apply the new service, then run

sudo systemctl daemon-reload  

You can then enable the service so that Gitea starts with the system.

sudo systemctl enable gitea
Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /etc/systemd/system/gitea.service. 

And now initialize

sudo systemctl start gitea

Finally, check the status of the service.

sudo systemctl status gitea  
Gitea service status
Gitea service status

Ngnix as reverse proxy

This step is optional but recommended for better access to gitea. So, install Nginx.

sudo apt install nginx  

Create a new configuration file

sudo nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/gitea.conf  

And add the following information

upstream gitea {
 server {
     listen 80;
     server_name your-domain;
     root /var/lib/gitea/public;
     access_log off;
     error_log off;
location / { 
try_files maintain.html $uri $uri/index.html @node;

location @node {   
client_max_body_size 0;
proxy_pass http://localhost:3000;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For
proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme; 
proxy_max_temp_file_size 0;
proxy_redirect off;
proxy_read_timeout 120;

Replace server_name with your domain.

Save the changes and close the editor.

Apply the new Nginx configuration by running

sudo systemctl restart nginx  

If you want to enable HTTPS, then install a certificate with Let’s Encrypt.

First install the necessary packages

sudo apt install certbot python3-certbot-nginx 

Create and install the new certificate by running

sudo certbot --nginx --agree-tos --redirect --hsts --staple-ocsp --email [your-email] -d [your-domain] 

Finally, restart Nginx.

sudo systemctl restart nginx 

Access to the Gitea instance

Open your web browser and go to https://your-domain where you will see the following screen

Installing Gitea
Installing Gitea on Ubuntu 20.04

In this part, you have to define the type of database to use. As well as the credentials.

Further down, you can define the site title, the repository paths, and the BaseURL which has to be your domain.

Configuring Gitea
Configuring Gitea before using it

Finally, you have to create an administrator user.

If all the process has been successful, you will be redirected to the application dashboard.

Gitea running on Ubuntu 20.04
Gitea running on Ubuntu 20.04

We are done, Gitea is fully working.


Thanks to this post, you learned how to install Gitea on Ubuntu 20.04 on your server and thus better manage your repositories in a private and self-hosted way.

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